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Don’t wait to follow, take the lead


In the business world, you are taught that you should be proactive rather than reactive to become successful. Being proactive is a skill that takes time and effort, however, to perfect.

Being proactive means that you are planning ahead and anticipating problems. Being reactive means that you are wait for problems to appear before addressing them.

The first thing to remember is that problems are normal, its part of being a human being. It is the way that we address problems and deal with them that can either enrich or encumber our everyday lives.

  • Being proactive can help eliminate problems before they appear and can make execution of your tasks more efficient. Being reactive can simplify the planning process, allowing you to act faster.


  • However, being proactive can lengthen the planning process and can also lead to over-planning as all potential options are analyzed. Being reactive can lead to unforeseen problems in execution that may require extensive time and effort to solve or correct.


  • A well-planned, proactive solution is more likely to succeed and less likely to create excess stress. With contingencies already in place, a problem faced in execution is much more easily addressed than if reactionary contingencies have to be developed as problems occur.

I suggest using a simple plan to become more proactive and less reactive, this is by utilising Lewin’s three step plan.

In the late 1940s social psychologist Kurt Lewin developed a three-step model for implementing change based on the concept of force field analysis. Force field analysis addresses the driving and resisting forces in a change situation. Driving forces must outweigh resisting forces in a situation if change is to occur. Therefore there must be a strong conscious decision to change the way that you deal with problems in order to overcome resistance from your inner self.

  1. Old activities must be unfrozen; the process of taking apart or dismantling those things that support or maintain the previous behaviour. 
  2. A new concept introduced; the process of introducing a clear and appealing option for a new pattern of behaviour.
  3. New activities must be frozen; The final step in this model is “freezing” which requires that changed behaviour be reinforced both formally and informally.

To recap, Implementing change and the way that you deal with problems takes a conscious effort and may take some time to be fully integrated into your everyday life.

 It is important to note Lewin’s model does not explicitly state the notion that simply introducing change will result in the change being adopted or being sustained over the long run. If an attempt to create change is unsuccessful, it means that there is a problem in one of the three steps in the model. Don’t give in, try again!

One Comment leave one →
  1. 26/08/2010 11:15

    Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

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